Cartoons: Gridiron Grins

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Football cartoon
“C’mere a minute, coach, I want you to see this little speedster go!”
November 18, 1950


Football cartoon
“They upset us again, sixty-five to nothing.”
November 17, 1951


Football cartoon
“A major factor in their diagnosis of our plays may be that there’s always twelve guys in this huddle.”
November 17, 1951


Football cartoon
“Oh, Kirkley, coach would like a word with you.”
October 6, 1951


Football cartoon
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Harold, fall down!”
John M. Price
October 6, 1951


Football cartoon
“Man! That’s the best hidden-ball play I’ve seen all season!”
Tom Henderson
September 30, 1950


Football cartoon
“Boy, you should hear their coach!”
Robt Day
November 25, 1950


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What’s Wrong with Kids’ Sports

Several years ago, I read a book about Harry Emerson Fosdick, who pastored Riverside Church in New York City. It was an interesting book, chock full of curious facts, chief among them that Riverside Church gave Fosdick the summer off each year. I’ve pastored for 35 years and am itching to have a summer off, but when I suggested it to my church, the idea landed with a splat, like a fat man doing a belly flop.

My wife is a school librarian, so has a summer break before hitting the books again the first week of August, which signals the conclusion of summer, even though it officially ends in September. Summer is over once the kids head back to school. If I were the president, the first thing I’d do is raise taxes, which would infuriate everyone, but the second thing I’d do is order schools not to start until the day after Labor Day, and everyone would like me again. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, it would throw off the high school football schedule, but there’s something wrong, something unnatural, perhaps even ungodly, about playing football in August.

While I’m on the subject of sports and seasons, Major League Baseball had its opening day on March 28 this year, the earliest start in history. It will wrap up on or around October 30. That’s just wrong. When I was a kid, we started playing baseball in Barry’s front yard after Memorial Day and wrapped the season up in September, when football began in Marvin Rutledge’s backyard. When football was over, basketball began, deep in the winter, in our gravel driveway, using a hoop my dad nailed to the side of our Indiana barn. Any kid who learns to dribble a basketball on gravel, while wearing gloves, can scarcely believe the utter ease of playing basketball on a hardwood floor. If professional basketball were played on gravel, any random group of Hoosier boys would win the NBA championship every year.

There’s something unnatural, perhaps even ungodly, about playing football in August.

There wasn’t a soccer season when I was a kid because we were Americans and didn’t believe in it, but now soccer is everywhere and has pretty well doomed youth baseball and football. Most everyone else in the world calls soccer “football” in order to trick us into thinking they play football — but they don’t, they play soccer. It’s like me saying I drive a Rolls Royce, when I actually drive a Ford. I don’t trust people who don’t call things by their right name. The third thing I’d do if I were president is outlaw soccer.

As long as I was passing laws about sports, I’d also make it illegal for kids to play on travel teams. I know a 9-year-old kid in Indianapolis whose parents drove him 600 miles to Omaha, Nebraska, so he could play a game of soccer with kids from North Dakota. In the days of old, I was allowed to play sports anywhere, provided I could get there on my bicycle. My parents would no more have loaded me in a car to drive me to a game than they would have quit the Catholic Church to become Buddhists.

We have a lot of problems in our country, what with the national debt, the war in Afghanistan, income inequality, and political division, but I’d be happy if we just started playing the right sports at the right time of year. I have a hunch that if we got that right, everything else would fall right into place.

Philip Gulley is a Quaker pastor and author of 22 books, including the Harmony and Hope series featuring Sam Gardner.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: Namath and the Jets Upset the Colts 50 Years Ago

Sports history enshrines many its greatest moments with simple titles. The Drive. The Catch. The Immaculate Reception. It’s fair to say that the pantheon should make room for a moment that occurred off-the-field: The Guarantee. In 1969, New York Jets star quarterback Joe Namath boldly proclaimed that his team would beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Three days later, on January 12, they did just that.

The Colts had already won two championships in the 1950s, prior to the championship game getting the updated title of the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the coach of those two winning teams had been Webb Ewbank; this time, he’d be on the opposite side, coaching the Jets. The Colts finished the regular season with a 13-1 record; the Jets went 11-3. On paper, both teams had considerable strengths; though the Jets had a powerful offense, the Colts had the best defense in the league, allowing only 144 total points against them for the entire season.

Namath’s prediction came during an appearance at the Miami Touchdown Club. With a loud Colts fan heckling him in the crowd, Namath spontaneously responded with, “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” Of course, the real test would come on the field.

Super Bowl III is available in full on YouTube, courtesy of the NFL’s official channel.

Though it might not have been the most exciting game ever played, it was certainly a sterling exemplar of field control on the part of the Jets. They held the Colts scoreless through the first three quarters, picking off MVP quarterback Earl Morrall three times; in the fourth, injured Colts legend Johnny Unitas came off the bench and led his team to their only touchdown. By the final whistle, it was Jets over Colts, 16-7.

Many guarantees have been made by players since. Some have even been fulfilled. But this one lives on. Perhaps it’s because it was inspired by the human moment of Namath attempting to silence a skeptic. Perhaps it’s because an underdog defied the odds. Whatever the case, the Namath Guarantee continues to be a touchstone of pop culture and part of the lore of one of the most consistently popular sports in America.

The first page of the article "Joe, Joe, You're the Most Beautiful Thing in the World".
Read “Joe, Joe, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing in the World” from the December 3, 1966 issue of the Post. Become a subscriber to gain access to all of the issues of The Saturday Evening Post dating back to 1821.

Cartoons: Football Fails

A football player rushes towards a very distant goal line as members of the opposing team chase him.
September/October 1995


A Green Bay Packers fan looks in a mirror as he tries out a new cheesehead hat. The salesman stands next to him.
“Do you have the same thing in Parmesan?”
January/February 2006


“He’s going to feel that tomorrow.” September/October 1995
“He’s going to feel that tomorrow.”
September/October 1995



Man talking to his friend at a bar counter
“My wife thinks that I put football before marriage, even though we just celebrated our third season together.”
July/August 1999



Man watching football on television while his wife comlains about him to her friend.
“Football is a game where 22 big, strong men run around for two hours while millions who really need the exercise sit and watch.”
November/December 1998



Football team listens to their coach berate them in the locker room, while one of the players has his ear against the wall, listening in on the opposing team's coach on the other side.
“Boy, you should hear their coach!”
November 25, 1950



“Relax—the game is over!” October 5, 1957
“Relax—the game is over!”
October 5, 1957